The American Heart Association (AHA) has revealed a simple lifestyle change that could help you ward off heard disease, diabetes and stroke.
The AHA says new research suggests that when and how often a person eats can impact their risk factors for heart attacks, strokes and other heart and blood vessel-related conditions. This is because regular mealtimes are likely to be associated with a healthier diet, which is less likely to cause heart disease.
That means never skipping breakfast, cutting snacking and planning for when you’ll eat, according to the AHA.
Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a nutritional studies associate professor at Columbia University in New York, was part of the group that conducted the research reported by the AHA.
“Meal timing may affect health due to its impact on the body’s internal clock,” she says.
So far, the studies have been done on animals. Those studies show that when animals are fed during an “inactive phase,” their internal clocks are reset in a way that can alter the way they metabolise nutrients, resulting in more weight gain, resistance to insulin and inflammation.
Large studies that follow human patients over a long time are now necessary to prove this as fact, St-Onge explains.
St-Onge says there is already studies that have found, for example, that people who eat breakfast every day are less likely to have high cholesterol and blood pressure, while those who skip it are more likely to be obese, have poor nutrition or be diagnosed with diabetes.
“We suggest eating mindfully, by paying attention to planning both what you eat and when you eat meals and snacks, to combat emotional eating,” she says.
“Many people find that emotions can trigger eating episodes when they are not hungry, which often leads to eating too many calories from foods that have low nutritional value.”